Jan Kaluza LOGO

[Mint] Linux with a flavour of Mint

I primarily run Linux Mint on my machines, currently 19.1 and the Cinnamon desktop manager. I do keep an eye on »Distrowatch who track about 1,000 Linux distros[1], which covers only a part of what is out there. This helps me to see what is new and what other distributions are doing.
[1] there are far too many distros which scares off many ex-Win/Mac developers from porting their software over. “To which of these 1,000+ distros must I code?” This is called the "Desktop Fragmentation of Linux" and is a big problem. And it is made even worse by some 20 desktop managers (Gnome, MATE, Cinnamon, i3, DeepIn, Budgie, etc, etc, …). Add on top different software packaging and management tools - it quickly seems insurmountable. Not just to developers, but the general public. All they see is what is on display at the store: Windows and oh yes, Mac. Linux... what's that?

[Manjaro] Another distro that I have tried is Manjaro (both Cinnamon and xfce), which is very slick but very hungry on bandwidth for updates. Not for beginners, Manjaro is based on Arch and for the more advanced user it offers an "install and just update forever" rolling release. Linux Lite, Ubuntu MATE, MX-Linux and several other distros are in Virtual Machines being used for specific tasks or just being test driven for a while.

For my daily computing and workflow I stick to Linux Mint and would still recommend it for newcomers and seasoned users alike. Mint's flagship is the Cinnamon edition. The Mint team originated Cinnamon which has become its own 'product', as well as MATE which is an earlier Gnome2/3 spinoff. There are also editions using the Xfce and KDE desktops. If you prefer a 'rolling' distro, there is LMDE 3 'Cindy' [2]. This differs from the usual Mint fare as it is built on Debian directly, not 'via' Ubuntu. So within the Mint space you already have much choice to suit your preferences.
[2] for a rolling release, just go with Manjaro!

For someone just starting out on the Linux journey, I recommend going with the Cinnamon edition. If you have old or slow hardware, then Xfce. So… that old laptop you moved on from when you bought your current one? Perfect for trying out Linux. Go on, be brave, explore some! And do try three or more different distros while you're at it.

Overall advice on switching from Windows or Mac to Linux: »YouTube (19 minutes). Please do your own 'due diligence' as to your choice of OS - here is a starting point: »EFF article.

In June 2017, Brian Lunduke said that if you are recommending Windows for your company, you should be fired. See »networkworld.com.

On Youtube, "Distro Tube" has some great videos on Linux and choices:
Why Linux > Windows
Linux Sucks for New Users
The Big Seven Distros

In July 2018, Forbes writer Jason Evalgelho wrote that »you should switch from Windows to Linux right now!

»"The State of Desktop Linux 2019" by Brian Lunduke at the Linux Journal is a worthwhile read.

As at January 2019, we have a very tight top-tier of 3 distros - »Manjaro, »MX Linux and »Mint - all very capable and worth trying out to see which one fits your computing needs best.

Do not put too much equity into Distrowatch ratings.
The ratings measure 'interest in' by counting clicks on links to the distros. I'm growing a bit suspicious about the unnaturally high ratings of several distros…

[Mint] There are so many distributions of Linux, and I have installed and used Mint, Manjaro and MX for various purposes. I keep going back to Mint as my main distro. It has been the best fit for my computing habits and image workflow. I have found "it just works" and the OS lets me do projects with little 'sysadmin' overhead. There was a very noticable slow-down from 18.3 to 19 (thanks to the new Ubuntu base and Intel chip exploit scares) - 19.1 has addressed some of the performance issues.
ZDnet had a glowing »review of Linux Mint 18 (July 11, 2016). And there is of course a »newer write-up about Mint 19 (July 2, 2018).

I am a Mint supporter